If you’ve decided to pursue a certificate or degree, your very first question is probably: How can I pay for this?
There is money available to help pay for school, but you have to apply for financial aid!
All students should submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is used by all schools to award federal and state financial aid. Many schools also use the FAFSA to award their institutional financial aid. Most students can complete the FAFSA in less than 30 minutes.
Financial aid is typically available for students attending at least half-time. Generally, the same types of financial aid are available to students who are working toward a degree or certificate, so long as the program is approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Contact your school to find out if they participate in the federal financial aid programs and whether federal financial aid funds are available for the program you wish to pursue.
The FAFSA becomes available each year on October 1. Students must file the FAFSA every year to be considered for financial aid. For more information and help filing your FAFSA connect with the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME).
You may be eligible for local or state scholarships that will help you pay for school. Be sure to utilize the FAME scholarship search tool.
Maine adults who want to return to college may qualify for as much as $4,000 per year on scholarships for up to four years, in an new Adult Degree Completion Scholarship Fund through the University of Maine System.
Application deadline for Fall semester is August 1st of the same year. – Learn more and apply today!
The System’s fund aims to help Maine people complete their academic studies at one of the Universities of the University of Maine System —many adults started their university education years ago, but did not complete a degree program for some reason, likely due to family or work obligations.
The new scholarships are for adult students enrolling in a System university after an absence of three years or more from higher education, and who are completing their very first baccalaureate degree. Courses may be taken at any of the seven universities in Maine.
In addition, a new “concierge” service has been established to assist and guide adult students, in the same way that the hospitality industry has concierges to help guide guests to explore a new area. The university concierges, based in 15 Maine communities, will help adult students achieve their educational goals through activities such as applying to a university, choosing a major, finding financial assistance, and registering for courses. Learn more about these scholarships: http://www.maine.edu/future-students/adult-students/scholarships/
The Competitive Skills Scholarship Program (CSSP) offered through the Career Centers: Post-secondary degree or certificate programs for high wage jobs in industries that need skilled workers; Income eligibility – 200% of the federal poverty level. For more details go to: www.mainecareercenter.com/services-programs/training/cssp/index.shtml
Sunrise County Economic Council’s (SCEC) Eaton Foundation Young Adult Scholarship Program targets young adults aged 18-29. Financial assistance of up to $500 for Washington County residents attending training and/or certification courses, not covered by traditional forms of financial aid, which will increase their employability and/or career advancement potential. For details go to: www.sunrisecounty.org/crmacna.html
Osher Scholarships are available to Maine residents of all ages. Osher Scholarship covers costs to take one course, including books and required materials for individuals who have never completed a college course. For details go to: www.mccs.me.edu/student/osher.html
The Maine Sea Coast Mission Scholarships for non-traditional students of all ages and HS students who are residents of the islands and coastal communities of Downeast Maine enrolling in degree programs or taking specialized courses to prepare for advancement in a variety of fields. For more information about the scholarship deadlines and requirements, call Terri Rodick, 207-288-5097. For details go to: www.seacoastmission.org/scholarships.html
Your employer may match funds you contribute to a Section 529 plan for you or your children. To learn more about Maine’s Section 529 plan, visit www.nextgenforme.com
FAME developed TheLoanforME.com as Maine’s student loan resource. This website has tools and information to help Maine students and families become more informed about borrowing for higher education, as well as a list of local Maine private student loan options.
NextGen 529 is for people of all ages: babies, kids, and even adults. To learn more about opening an account to invest for higher education expenses, visit www.nextgenforme.com.
The Alfond Grant is a one-time $500 grant from the Alfond Scholarship Foundation and administered by the Finance Authority of Maine. For more information and complete eligibility details visit www.500forbaby.org